Underneath Anger

One of the things I find underneath anger is fear. Being afraid is one of the most uncomfortable experiences I have had. When I am ignoring or unconscious of my fear, it often manifests s anger. When I step back and examine the anger, I find that it is often with myself. I have created a situation, or stayed in one for too long, that is resulting in someone coming at me in a hostile manner, whether verbal or physical. Even if I am angry about something beyond my personal life, I realize it comes down to something very similar. I am not powerful enough to prevent or change something that is happening. I am not in control; I do not have enough influence. I’m scared.

I do not like being scared so I get angry with myself for not being powerful enough.

At some point, once I have owned my powerlessness, I come to the doorway of surrender. I lean into my spiritual practice and immerse myself in Divine Love. As fear lessens so does anger. Now, I can be more honest. What can I do? Can I love myself enough to leave a relationship, job, or situation that is not healthy for me? Can I become more involved in my community and world, remembering that even small efforts can build into change? Can I spend quality time with people I admire and learn from them? Taking action in even small ways lessens my fear and builds my confidence in myself, in the Divine flow of life.

I can use the anger that was covering my fear to motivate me into different thinking, into positive action. Fear and anger are powerful energies and those energies can be channeled into the courage and strength I need to be a more effective human being. Yes!

Already? Really?

I woke up several times during the night and was able, each time, to go back to sleep which is not always the case. As I woke up the last time, I felt a cramp beginning to form in my left leg so I forced myself to get out of bed quickly to stop it. My thought was “At least I kept going back to sleep this time.” I decided to begin my day and the final preparations for a dear friend’s visit. Within a few minutes, my thought was, “Already? Really? Is this how my day is going to be?!”

Yeah, one of those mornings. The simplest of tasks took twice as long. The humidifier wouldn’t work so I cleaned it thoroughly and put it outside to dry. I reached under the sink for my rubber gloves and the foil, plastic wrap, and parchment paper fell out so I rearranged the cabinet. Really? Then I walked outside for a moment and saw a little bird on the wire and felt the cool morning air. I smiled and thought about how many times I felt as though nothing was easy. I also thought about how many times a complicated day unfolded as smooth as silk. Then there are times when nothing feels right even though nothing appears to be wrong – like the day years ago when I was grooming my horse and told my best friend that “I feel as though I woke up backwards in my body this morning! The world feels that strange to me.” She laughed and said she knew just what I meant.

What works for me, on a day that begins the way this one did, is to take a few slow breaths and remind myself to slow down and be very gentle with myself. I’m not doing anything wrong; I am simply not quite in sync with myself and my environment in that moment. I often play a few games of solitaire on my iPad because it is almost a zen experience and brings me into the moment. Then I read something inspirational that gently reminds me that I am, after all, learning to be human and that the process can be quite awkward. I remind myself that everything is unfolding for my highest good whether it feels like it or not. Even as I type this I am monitoring my breath because I have a tendency to shorten and hold it at times like this. Keeping my breath slow and full calms and centers me and allows me to smile because…

Yeah, already, really. And…

This too shall pass. This will shift because everything is in a state of constant change. I am a spiritual being currently having a human experience and that means experiencing the polarities and contrasts of this third dimensional world. Being gentle with myself and letting the moment be okay allows me to be available when it shifts into a more comfortable mode. It allows me to love myself even as I experience these annoying challenges when my leg aches from that early morning cramp. It is all a part of being human after all.

May your day unfold gently and easily and may you know peace.

Control or Release?

This is so often the question, isn’t it? Which is more powerful – to be in control of a situation or to release control of that situation? It seems obvious that the “right” answer is to release control. Most of us have or are dealing with our control issues. It is easier than it used to be as it is such a common thing to discuss now.

In the path of enlightened awareness, the motivation comes from a deep place within. Intellectually, I am very clear that control simply doesn’t work even though it may appear to in the short term. Self-control is most useful in creating a healthier flow of life, especially until I grow up in some specific area of my life. Once my awareness level catches up with the heart desire to change a behavior, there is little or need to exercise self-control because I am able to flow with that desire in a very natural way.

As with many healing insights, I begin to have a breakthrough when I recognize that the nature of what I am looking at is yet another one of the paradoxes of this human life experience. Power appears to come through the ability to be in the position of control which often manifests in arrogance. In spite of this, I find the most powerful leaders are those who come from a place of humility and deep respect for themselves and others. They know they have the final say but they are willing to listen and learn. In return, those who interact with them trust their right to lead and their ultimate decisions.

How does this manifest in one’s personal life? I don’t have time to write a book this morning so I’ll simply offer a few thoughts. Control manifests in so many ways it boggles the mind. It can be outright, arrogant, and demanding or it can be subtle, deceptive, and manipulative. None of these things lead to true and lasting relationships. None of these things nurture a person’s soul or result in a loving and compassionate expression of self. These things can create a false sense of security in this wild and wooly world. I get it. However, I do not resonate with it.  It took me a long while but I have come to see that trying to control myself or other people or circumstances stops the flow of creative energy in my life. For me, release has proved to be more powerful than any other approach.

Yoga and meditation are my primary tools to develop the ability to release into the flow of my life. How do you respond when you have shared a struggle you are having with someone and they say, “You just have to let that go.” Really? Like I can do that when the pain is up and my emotions are screaming to be heard. Yeah, I’ll just let that go and move on. Isn’t that called stuffing your emotions? When I tried that behavior on, it affected my physical health on a frightening level. In yoga I have learned to release into my body by feeling it resist, breathing into those muscles or joints and inviting them to release into my breath. It works. Then I learned the same techniques work with emotions and mental gymnastics…..as long as I am willing to experience those things as I have learned to experience physical resistance. I must make a space for those emotions and those meandering thoughts. I must be with them long enough to breathe into them and then invite them to release into my breath. In allowing them to exist with awareness, I allow them to fulfill their purpose and dissipate.

This is not always a comfortable process but my yoga practice isn’t always comfortable either. I still do it because I have learned that the end result is well worth the discomfort. My emotional practice isn’t always comfortable but the end result is so freeing, so comforting and self-nurturing that I embrace it fully. As with hatha yoga, the more faithful I am with this practice, the more quickly and easily I move through to its rewards.

Release brings me into the natural flow of life which is much more fun and relaxing.

Aum shanti. Namaste.

Hiking while Transitioning

Those of you who know me personally realize that I am moving to a new city and state in less than a week. For all of you that follow my blog, I appreciate your patience during these past weeks and for a few more to come. I will return to more regular entries as soon as my new internet service is up and running.

A dear friend took me on a four-hour hike recently. We peaked at 5700 feet and it was profoundly wonderful. I had never done a hike like that before and my friend proved to be a compassionate and knowledgeable coach. The sky was close, the mountains had their snow caps on and the sun on the pine needles looked like diamonds.

I am a mountain girl. Like those who long for the sea, I long to look at and visit mountains. I am restored and renewed in their presence. That day I felt the earth breathing and the rocks aware of my presence. There was a tall pine tree partially hollowed out by a fire that occurred a few years ago. The tree survived and had continued to grow. It reminded me of the redwoods of northern California. I walked quietly to the tree and gently touched the scorched bark and the exposed inner wood, tracing the lines of its rings. Then I stepped inside and closed my eyes, resting my forehead against the inside of a living tree! I prefer not to share the entire experience because it is personal to me. I will say that experiences like that one confirm to me the presence of Spirit in all things.

That day was given to me as a gift. My friend wanted to share a place that was sacred to his life and his journey. Together we felt the blessing of the Creator and the Oneness of All That Is.

The hike challenged me physically on many levels. I am grateful for my overall health, strength, and connectedness to my breath. I needed it all to complete that journey. It changed me. I am standing a bit taller and feel more confident than ever in myself. There will be challenges ahead that will cause me to remember hiking to 5700 feet. When I do, I will trust myself in whatever new challenge I am facing.

I accepted the gift of this hike to the mountain top in the middle of packing boxes, making dozens of phone calls, emotional farewells, and sleepless nights. I had reservations that I could do it because I was not at my best. It turned out that I didn’t need to be at my personal best because I was not alone.

I was reminded that when we are not at our best is the time to allow another to guide and/or help us. My friend simply believed in me and coached my breathing as the air thinned and my lungs strained. We would stop and sit and speak of prana, life force energy, and the path of life. After a few moments, renewed, we would stand and walk upward once more. I believed I could do it because he believed I could do it.

In any life transition, there are uphill journeys. So, if you are there now, believe in yourself. Be gentle with your body and remember to use your breath for strength as well as calmness. Let friends cheer you on and remind you that they believe in you. Remember that those uphill climbs will tax your strength and stamina so give yourself time to rest during and after. Acknowledge your accomplishments with gratitude toward the Divine in you and in All That Is.

I suspect I have only begun to know the shifts in energy and changes of heart and mind that my mountain hike brought me. It feels as though my inner vision is clearer as is my perception of this present moment. Gratitude will continue to flow as each gift is revealed over time.

For now, thank you Great Spirit, Mother-Father Divine, Spirit of All That Is for meeting me so profoundly on the mountain top. Namaste.

What am I creating today?

For me, conscious creating is about being mindful in the moment rather than controlling how my life will unfold. Because I do not live in isolation, I can see and understand that my interactions with others brings an overlap in our life experiences, even in our karma. My karma is just that: mine. Yet there is family or bloodline karma that I am walking out as well. There is karma resulting from my participation in relationships of all kinds. So, yes there are experiences that come into my life – both blissful and highly uncomfortable – that I have not consciously created. I have agreed to them on some level, however, by entering into partnerships, either personal or professional.

Life has taught me to be very aware of who and what I am bringing into the inner circle of my experience. At times this learning journey has been profoundly painful as well as profoundly beneficial.

This mantra filled my thoughts, my being for an entire day recently:  Om Brahma Namah

Deepak Chopra translates this as: My being participates in the creation of each moment.

I appreciate his use of the verb “participates” because it reminds me that, even when I catch the edge of someone else’s karma, it is because I have somehow participated in the creation of that moment. At the very least, my participation included having that person in my life long enough to catch that edge.

So, the question becomes “What am I creating by my participation in ______ ?”  If I am unhappy with what I am experiencing, am I willing to change my participation with that person or situation? Notice I did not ask “Can I change what that person is doing or can I control that situation?” The only way to shift what I am experiencing is to evaluate my participation in that experience.

Another mantra comes to mind:  Aieem Namah

Chopra translates this one as: My True Self is playful and wise.

I love this and I am not always this, so today this will be my mantra. From now on, when I realize I am displaying the thoughts or behaviors of Miss Fussy Pants, I will ask myself this:  Am I being playful and wise?  If I am not, this mantra will be my reminder to shift thoughts, desires, behaviors so that I may return to my True Self, yes? Yes!

This I do not have to create. This I simply can remember. To live from True self is to be playful and wise. Then I can trust that my participation in the creation of each moment will be for my highest good and the highest good of all. It will also be way way fun!!

Transitional Tornadoes

The only constant in life is change.

Change can be everything from exhilirating to frightening. It can be dreams come true and it can be like a tornado tossing us into the winds. Some people thrive on change, moving through life without ever settling anywhere in particular. Others resist change in any form, wanting everything to remain the same. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes.

Even when change is desired and planned for, the actual transition can feel like being scooped up by a tornado and tossed around, then suddenly dropped to the earth. Physically, mentally and emotionally, the energy rages and swirls as we cope with all of the logistics of transition. It is exhausting.

And it is inevitable. Human beings, by and large, resist this one constant in life. Why? We all want to feel safe and secure and, somewhere along the way, we came to believe that keeping things the same would enable us to do that. If I can control the outer circumstances of my life, I can rest in knowing what my days will be like, who my friends are, and what the future holds. This, of course, is illusion. Nothing stays the same; there are no guarantees; life changes.

How then do we learn to embrace and flow with change that we do not initiate? When you think about it, what choice do we have? When transition is thrust upon us, we must find ways to go with it, to cope and to thrive into our new normal….until that changes of course!

This is my simplest answer:   Loosen your jaw and breathe slowly and evenly all the way to your pelvic floor. Feel the breath in your rib cage, upper abdomen and belly. Stay with it until your mind clears and your emotions grow calmer.  Repeat this every time the tornadoes of transition whip up and begin to toss you around again.

To resist is exhausting and futile and, quite frankly, can take you straight to crazy town. Personally, I’ve spent some time in crazy town and have no desire to visit there any time soon, or ever. Instead, ride the zipline of life and yell wahoo!

Gentle Path to Ahimsa

My last entry was intense, especially if you look at ahimsa, non-violence, as behavior or a state of being that you have to “make” happen. Even the idea of that journey is exhausting when viewed as a standard so high, so perfect, that it becomes the impossible goal. “I’ll do the best I can but I’ll never make it.”

Let’s make it simple, remembering that simple isn’t always easy. Mindfulness, compassion toward myself, honesty about what I think and feel are all necessary to live a non-violent life. However, changing thought patterns and behaviors is not the best place to begin. It can be frustrating and fruitless if these changes are not emanating from a fundamental shift in what I believe about mySelf, my True Nature.

If I continue to believe that I am born a sinner who must gain the approval and love of a judgmental God, then judging myself and attempting to control my thoughts and behaviors will be my path. This path brings me right back into himsa, violence toward myself. What then?

The most loving and compassionate path toward changed patterns and behaviors is to come to believe something different about my fundamental nature, the true essence of my being. There is a lovely legend about the creation of the universe. It says that this Being, This Divine Love Energy we call God existed pure and complete within Itself. The nature of Love is that It must be expressed so The Divine looked into Itself and the expression of Love was so profound it expanded, imploded, then exploded into the vast expanse of All That Is and universes came into being. Everything from that moment on became an expression of Divine Love in form…

including you and me and all others that exist in form.

Yes, you are Love Divine in human form. Love manifesting in the physical world. This is where you begin to manifest ahimsa, from the Love that you are, your True Essence, True Self, your Soul. This is a beautiful, loving, simple way to live. Simple but is the process easy? Letting go of what has always been is not easy for most people.

So, the path begins within rather than in trying to control your thoughts and behaviors. It is good to exercise wisdom in your thoughts and expressions as you begin this journey. The discovery of the True Essence of your being will ultimately shift the source of your patterns and exerting effort will fade away as love and compassion motivate your thoughts and behaviors naturally; because that is who you are at the core of your being.

Where to begin? Right here by reading blogs and other spiritual offerings that are different from what has brought you to believing you are something other than Love in Form. Open the mind and heart. Sit with what you read and let yourself feel it. What would change if you came to believe Divine Love abides (to stay, remain, continue) in you, giving you life and sustaining your being? What would you think of yourself if you believed that you don’t just “have” Divine Love in you but that you ARE Divine Love manifested? What would change if you believed, on every level of awareness, that there is no separation, that there is only the Oneness and Wholeness of All That Is (God, Divine Love).

It begins with practices like yoga and meditation. Take a walk without music to distract the mind. Let the mind take in your surroundings and the movement of your body, the sound of your breath. Sit quietly and, if the mind does not cooperate (there is a reason we name it the monkey mind!), watch it roam. Laugh at its need to see everything, think everything, fix everything! It is a little monkey exploring its world. Sit without music and count your breath, inhaling to a very slow count of four and exhaling to an equally slow count of six. Abide in these practices without judgement. How many years have you believed you were not spiritual enough? Can you give yourself a few minutes (5-10) every day for a few months, maybe a year, to shift those beliefs? If you skip a day, can you let that be okay and begin the next day? Is there a deadline or is this an unfolding of something new and wonderful? Why not show up and let it unfold? I promise it will happen in spite of you.

In the Oneness of All That Is I AM Whole.   In the Wholeness of All That Is I AM One.

Divine Love Abides in Me; I Abide in the Love of My Soul.